Who is the Smartest Woman You know?

A few years ago there was a pretty fab campaign for  Clinique Smart Custom Serum.  It Starred one of my fave Beauty experts Caroline Hirons (whom I discovered on Twitter, and who is as funny as she is smart), and it  celebrated smart women and their qualities. For Caroline Hirons, the smartest woman she knows happens to be her mom, something I can totally relate to.

If you have read the Sam Haskell memoir ‘Promises I Made My Mother’ you will probably find yourself agreeing that although you meet many people in the course of your life, it is your Mother you still turn to in times of need, in times of stress, even when you are way past 40, but still need someone to put their arms around you and tell you it is going to be OK. Sam Haskell rose to the top of a very successful career at the world famous William Morris agency, and felt he did this by holding onto the values and life lessons that his mother instilled in him during childhood. These helped him to retain his pride and dignity, even when working in the often morale free world that is Hollywood.

I’m so with Sam! My mom is my heroine in so many ways. She was a teenage mom who proved to be the best mom any young girl could wish for – clever, funny and most certainly smart. She was a stay-at-home mom until I was 12, and then went back to work and rose to the top of her career path. Now she is almost 64, still working in management and is as great a grandmother to her three grandchildren as she is a mom. My son Joe just adores her.

Life lessons from my mom, I have them in abundance and they certainly still guide the way I live my life. She taught me that you can do anything if you try, that you can be opinionated, intelligent, funny and outspoken without needing to be brash, rude, egotistical or offensive. She taught me that if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing in heels (although she does wear them slightly lower these days) and that you only have one skin, so you most definitely need to look after it, she certainly never sleeps in make up.

I get my love of fashion, of animal print, of Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe, of T Rex  and The Beatles all from her. She is inspirational, and most definitely deserving of the title smart woman. My love of reading, of old movies, of animals and travel, all come from my mother, but she also taught me that manners cost nothing and that if you can’t say or do something good, then maybe you should say nothing at all.

You can have lots of friends in your life, but you only get one mom, and I totally struck lucky with mine.


On holiday in Menorca.


my mom and me!


At Marco Pierre White’s in Birmingham.


Mother’s Day with my mom and sister.


Mother’s Day – a time for memories

I love Mother’s day, it is a time to spoil and pamper my lovely mother, and now, with a beautiful boy of my own, I get spoiled too. In fact, he presented me with a lovely bear he had chosen last week, he was just too excited to wait. (He also told me that he had actually wanted to get me a big fat duck, but his dad had (thankfully) said no. Cue me giggling like a fool for ages afterwards.) But even though Mother’s day is a day of joy and happiness, there is a sadness to the day too, for someone is missing from the celebrations.

My mother-in-law Rita passed away from lung cancer in April 2009, and the very early age of 55. Joe was just 4 months old, and we felt bereft and cheated that she would never have the chance to know and love her grandson, and he would never get the opportunity to get to know a nanny who had loved him from the minute she had set her eyes on him. Rita was a real force of nature, full of life and laughter, a women who loved wine and fashion, real life crime novels and fine food. She cherished her children and grandchildren, was fiercely intelligent, and loved nothing more than sunning herself in the Spanish sunshine with a martini and a swimming pool close by. She was gone too soon, and for my husband, Joe and I, there is a gap left by her passing that never disappears. I don’t mind admitting I miss her every single day.

Rita, Peter and Joe Jan 2009

Rita, Peter and Joe Jan 2009

For a time we thought about consulting a medium to try to say goodbye properly. Despite her illness, her passing had been sudden, and we never got chance to say a proper goodbye. It also seemed that maybe she was trying to talk to us, at times I could smell the distinctive perfume she wore, and some family photographs flashed up on a computer, even though I could not find them in any file. (I know I searched and searched.) Pete my husband also felt his mom’s presence at times when he was feeling really low in his grief. Ultimately, we decided against it, we have our memories and photographs which help to keep a person in your hearts and mind, and I love to tell Joe about his other nanny, who he calls his nanny up in heaven.

Happy times with Rita

Happy times with Rita


So this mother’s day will be full of love and joy, we will go for a lovely family meal and make new memories, and will also be attending a special birthday party for a little girl turning one. But we will also be remembering another mom who, although no longer with us, is never really far away.

*For Rita, Peter, Lina, Den, Lia and Joe.xxx

*post in collaboration with TheCircle

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com